With the calendar having turned to March and the new league year now around the corner, it won’t be long now before the Competition Committee begins to convene to discuss possible rule changes for the 2019 season. One of the hot topics this year concerns the review process, stemming from some recent high-profile moments, including an egregious non-call that may have decided the NFC Championship game.
While there is reportedly little momentum at the moment for expanding the scope of the review system, according to Pro Football Talk, there has been a proposal put forward by the coaches’ subcommittee that seeks to strike a balance.
Similar to what the Alliance of American Football is doing, the proposal is to introduce an additional official who, instead of being on the field, would be in a booth and would monitor the game via video in order to essentially police the officiating. He would, ostensibly, have the authority to override egregious mistakes.
I am and always have been all for any step taken that can potentially work toward making the in-game officiating a more accurate process, so I’m sure you can gather where I stand on this. While the best of intentions haven’t always resulted in the right calls being made, we can still implement the tools necessary to get the right results.
According to the article, “the Competition Committee initially didn’t react to it with enthusiasm, but as one source observed there’s no good argument against it”. It even notes the legal gambling angle, and the possibility of there being federal implications for games being decided by incorrect calls.
The flip side of the argument is that the game is officiated by humans, and that comes with the risk of human error. Then there’s the ‘good teams overcome bad officiating’ mode of thought. And finally, there’s the practical matter of the review process slowing down the game and serving as a hindrance to momentum.
Obviously a video official’s role would not be to work as a second level of the review process but would rather serve a real-time role. Perhaps there would be incidents in which he would have to stop the game in order to ensure that the right call is made, but the bulk of his job would be done without anybody even knowing that he was doing it.
Where do you stand on the idea of the NFL adding a video official during games? Do you feel it’s about time the league does something like this? Do you think replays should just be done away with on the whole? Is there a happy medium, or is there no perfect solution?